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Industry's first economic impact study gains funding


Fund-raising for the UK meetings and events industry’s first ever economic impact study has passed the halfway mark with more than £125,000 already pledged for the project in an industry collaborative effort involving Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation, ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), Site (Society of Incentive & Travel Executives) as well as public and private enterprise partners.

Both public and private investment has been provided by leading brands in the UK supply chain including InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine,  Confex, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, London & Partners, IMEX, VisitScotland and VisitWales.

The result will be the first quantitative research on the size and value of the meeting and business events industry in the United Kingdom. Based on a methodology developed in partnership the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and successfully applied in Canada and the United States, the Tourism Satellite Accounting Meetings Extension study will articulate the contribution of the meetings and business events industry to the United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product as well as overall employment and tax contributions.

The results in both Canada and the United States demonstrated that the meeting and business event industry had a higher contribution both in terms of GDP and employment than the automotive or data processing industries, making it a significant growth engine for both economies.

“The completion of such a research, demonstrating the true economic value of the meetings and business events, is essential to position our industry and its professionals towards political, media and business leaders” said Didier Scaillet, chief development officer of the MPI Foundation. “I am thrilled with the support that we have received from partners across the United Kingdom and expect many more.”

Denise MacDonald, director of meetings - Europe, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “This study is a fantastic opportunity for us in the UK meeting & Events industry to really punch our weight and work together to start spreading the message about the value and impact of meetings and events for our country, our cities and our respective companies. When the study has been completed it will be a very powerful tool for us all to use and perhaps have some degree of influence on how we drive this business for the UK in the future and how we converse with government and public bodies about our industry contribution.”

The research, the first of its kind for a European country, will be conducted by a specialist firm selected through an open Request for Proposal later this year.

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